Thursday, May 21, 2009


What are idols? Technically, they are statues, relics, figurines, all sorts of objects that people worship. In the OT, they are referred to as "nothings, vapors, images" - in other words, hollow and empty, containing no power. The pagan nations in the land of Canaan worshiped gods of fertility, of the sun, of produce, of livestock, and more, and they would make idols to represent their deities. God warned His people to make no graven images, no idols (Exodus 20:4-6). He didn't even want them to make idols representing Him because, first of all, He is spirit and He can't accurately be represented by any image, and second of all, because He knows that human nature would lead people to worship the object rather than Him.
In reality, an idol is anything that is more important to you than God. (
Col 3:5 equates greed with idolatry.) For some, their car is their idol; for others, their bank account; for others, their favorite sport or hobby; for others, entertainers may be their idols - ever heard of "American Idol"?; for others, it is sin; for others, it is a religious relic, just like the people of Canaan from thousands of years ago.

Satan - the devil - the evil one - is so crafty that he has convinced people to worship idols rather than worshiping the true and living God. People justify this in their own mind by saying things like "it's no big deal" or "this thing brings me good luck," or "I enjoy this" or "I don't want anyone telling me what to do" or "you can only trust what your eyes can see." They don't even realize that this "thing" is controlling their lives, taking their focus off of the One who is true, keep them away from the one who can give them life.

The truth is that God is more real than anything you can see, or hear, or feel. Idols are made by people, and are formed into whatever image the person who makes them wants them to be. Idols may have ears but they cannot hear. Idols may have eyes but they cannot see. Idols may have mouths but they cannot speak. Idols may have hands and feet but they are paralyzed to move or act. But God is spirit, and He is moving, speaking, seeing, hearing, acting, loving, revealing Himself. No one made God; He made us. And He loves us with an everlasting love. Read the words of
Isaiah 44:6-20.

God does not want us to bow down to idols. Why? Because the Lord is a jealous God - His name is Jealous (
Ex 34:14) - Yahweh Qanna. To see how strongly He objects to idol worship, read Exodus 32:1-14.

But God is not jealous in the way we get jealous. We get jealous when somebody has something that we think we deserve. We get jealous because we are greedy. We get jealous because we are needy. Guys get jealous when their girlfriend talks to another guy. But God is not like us. God is completely satisfied in who He is. He does not need us to make Him happy. God's jealously is rooted in His love for us. God wants what is best for us. God wants us to have joy, to enjoy His blessings, to have peace, to have life. God is not jealous of the idols that we bring into our lives. God is not jealous of us. No, God is jealous FOR us. Like a faithful husband, He loves His bride and wants the best for us. He knows the truth, and He knows that idols will always disappoint, they will always let us down. And He wants to give us the best. He wants to keep us from sin, to keep us protected from Satan, to give us understanding, to show us the truth, to give us life! He is the true God and eternal life is in Him. He has great plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and He wants to give you abundant life. He knows that Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Idols do not deliver what they promise. But God always does. And He is all that you need.

When people bow to idols, they are settling for less than God's best. They will always be disappointed. They will never be fulfilled. They are trusting in something that cannot bring them real joy, lasting results or eternal life. At best, they are putting their hope in something that is nothing. At worst, they are putting their trust in something that is demonic, destructive, and will lead them to eternal death.

Idol worship will destroy your life.

Idols cannot help you. Idols cannot save you. Idols cannot guide you. Idols will lead you astray. Idols will let you down. But God has a better way - He is the way. God knows the truth - He is the truth. God can give life - He is the life.

Notice what
1 John 5:18-20 says:

1. Know the practice of your life - Whoever has been born of God does not sin. (That is, if you are born of God you will not continue in the practice of sinning). The word of God is your guide to overcoming sin (
1 John 2:14). There are always consequences for sin. Idols cannot help you to overcome sin. But a child of God can have victory over sin every single time he is tempted.

2. Know the protection on your life - Jesus protects us from the evil one. Satan will try to attact us, discourage us, tempt us, hurt us. But he cannot touch us, literally it means he cannot "attach himself to us," because Jesus is protecting us. Satan cannot do anything to you that God does not allow, and God's purposes are always to give you life, to strengthen your faith, to draw you closer to Himself. He will never let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear (
1 Cor 10:13) and He will always be faithful to help you be victorious.

3. Know the pressure on your life - A child of God recognizes that there are two groups of people on this earth - those who are of God and those who are under the sway of the evil one. They see the distinction. And the longer they walk with the Lord the more repulsive the evil one becomes. They realize that the fleeting pleasures of sin are not worth the consequences. They recognize that there are lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes and the pride of life, but they know that as a child of the King they do not have to be swayed by the evil one any longer. (
1 John 2:15-17) Satan doesn't care which idol you worship, as long as it's not Jesus.

4. Know the Person in your life - We know that Jesus has come and has given us understanding that we may know the true One. Not only that, but we are literally in the true One, that is we are in His Son Jesus Christ. It is a great mystery but it is true. We are in Christ, and His Spirit lives in us. He is the true God and eternal life.

So what should our response be?

1. If a person is not yet a believer, they should hear the words of Paul in
Acts 17:16-34 and repent and trust in Christ.

2. Guard yourselves from idols - get rid of them, keep them away.

3. Live victoriously.